Hey There, Georgia Girl

Georgia Girl Drive-In, Woodbine, GA

My parents didn’t live in Georgia for long. In fact, if truth be known, it was the shortest time I’ve ever lived anywhere in my life. Back in the early 70s, my father got a teaching job in the Brunswick area and we lived in a duplex on Jekyll Island. The job, and the beach home, lasted less than a year, and even though I was younger than three years old, I still remember the day we drove off, leaving the enormous bridge to Brunswick behind.

As an adult, I lived in Georgia for about five years, just across the border from Tennessee. I still have my old Georgia license plate to prove it. Nowadays I only seem to pass through there on my way to Florida.

In 2013, when coming back from Florida, and we made our mad dash to Wright’s Dairy-Rite in Virginia, there was a little part of the story I left out. I fully intended to make a stop at the Georgia Girl Drive-In in Woodbine, Georgia, but I realized that time would not allow us to stop at Bar-B-Q King in Charlotte for lunch, and hit Wright’s in Staunton in time for neon magic hour. So, with much trepidation I put it off.

Much trepidation because I knew the old place was abandoned, and that any day now someone would get the idea to take the sign down. Or, judging by its age, it might fall down on its own. So I made every intention of hitting this up on our way down to Florida last October.

The sun was out and shining bright. Since the Georgia Girl had long since closed, Google Maps were useless, so I was counting on reports of others as to its actual location. Fortunately the directions were not too hard, and there it was, still standing.

Georgia Girl Drive-In, Woodbine, GA

Standing, but just barely. The abandoned car added to the ambience. Fortunately, this was right on US 17, so I wasn’t too worried about carrying forth with my photography plans. The difficulty was pretty obvious from the start: the sun had bleached the side of the sign with full sun on it. The other side was vibrant, but I would have to crawl through the weeds to get that shot.

Flashback: the Temple Drive-In in Williamstown, PA. First time I took shots of that, I came down with dozens of chigger bites. Eight-to-five said there were chiggers in them thar hills. I decided discretion was the better part of valor and stuck to taking shots from the sunny side.

Georgia Girl Drive-In, Woodbine, GA
Georgia Girl Drive-In, Woodbine, GA

And all of this was good, and showed off the rustiness and dustiness, but I knew what the other side looked like and I knew that was a better shot. I waited for the sun to go away, attached my longest lens, and walked down the sidewalk a bit to see if there was anything I could do. It wasn’t the easiest shot, because of green trailer standing in the way. I had to put the K-5 into live mode and held it above my head as high as my arms could reach. Several tries ended in miserable, blurry failure, but in the end…

Georgia Girl Drive-In, Woodbine, GA

We drove off, having been honked at only once, and made our way for Florida and vacation, but we were so glad we could get this little piece of history.

And here’s where it is!

Wildwood, Part 3

Stardust Motel, Wildwood, NJStardust Motel, Wildwood, NJ

For part 1, click here

For part 2, click here

Due to the construction in Wildwood last October, we found ourselves diving down streets that we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. We ended up on Spicer Avenue, which held a few more motels of the golden era. Remembering back to the research I had done, I knew the Stardust Motel was there (see the shot above) so I went after it. But on the way there, I saw a neon palm tree that needed to be photographed. I was just the guy to do it.

Mango Motel, Wildwood, NJ

As I stepped out to get this shot, somebody pulled out of the parking lot behind me. The driver was, at first glance, Jersey through and through, and for those of you who don’t know New Jersey, this could be either a good thing or a bad thing. Either I was going to get the chewing out of a lifetime or I was going to get a too-hard slap on the back and invitation to the nearest beer. I got the obvious question about what I was doing. He didn’t ask me what I thought I was doing, so I took that as a good sign. No pun intended.

Turns out, this was the owner of the Mango Motel. And further, the sign had just been restored, and he was obviously very proud of it. He had spotted me taking shots with my iPhone, so I let him know about my Instagram account.

Mango Motel, Wildwood, NJ

In my experience, it’s rare that I get a chance to interact with the owner of a business whose sign I’ve singled out, and rarer still that I get any appreciation for it. I’ve been chased off rudely at least twice, and more often than not, when I explain what I’m doing, the owner turns around and goes back in the building shaking his head. But every once in a while you find someone who is proud of their sign, and more than willing to show it off. In light of this, I honestly wish I had taken more shots at the Mango Motel other than the ten or so I did.

But Wildwood is endless supply of neon, and it was getting late in the day. Honestly, I was exhausted before Wildwood was, but I continued to snap away.

Caribbean Motel, Wildwood, NJ

The Caribbean, which was one of the better-attended motels in Wildwood that Sunday in October, has one of the best signs going, although it’s a little difficult to get, as it sits atop a lovely 50s style deck. It’s right across the street from the Bel Air, which just had its sign restored as well.

Bel Air Motel, Wildwood, NJ

One of my favorites was the LuFran, which was slightly in need of a new coat of paint. My regret is that I got there too late, and the shadows were not in my favor. Still, I managed to get a long shot to zoom in on some great details.

lu-fran

To tell the truth, this is not all. I still have a bunch of shots from other locations that I’ll share later on. Another regret is that my time was limited, and I was not able to stay long enough to get these wonders while they were lit. To be fair, this was more of a fact-finding mission. Rest assured I’m going back there, if all goes well during the Spring, so stay tuned!

(You Say You Want a) Resolution

Kwik Shoppe, Shoemakersville, PA from January 2014Kwik Shoppe, Shoemakersville, PA from January 2014

At the top of this year, as we do every year, we talked about the things we wanted to see and do in the next twelve months. The Big Picture. I suppose we’re no different from anybody else, and probably no different in this respect to anybody else in the results department: by February, the cares of life have worn us down to the point where we have completely forgotten any pending Resolutions, and by December we’re left wondering where the year has gone. And the Resolution starts over. Which begs the question, has anyone ever successfully followed through on a New Year’s Resolution?

Don’t answer that. I’d hate to think I’m the only one.

My favorite Resolution is the resolution of the sensor on my K-5. One of the things that I often try to do when I’m on a sign shoot is to haul out the longest lens I’ve got and take a few close-ups, put that Resolution to its fullest. Sometimes these are the most interesting shots I take. And it brought up an interesting thought come Resolution time. We focus in on such large things at New Year’s, the losing twenty pounds or finally finishing that novel or whatever it happens to be, and it does us a disservice. We can’t do it all in one sitting, and the Resolution fails us. The reality is, to make these changes, it takes much more, many small changes that change attitudes and lifestyles. Maybe the thing to do is to focus in on these small things.

Wright's Dairy-Rite, Staunton, VA from November 2013Wright’s Dairy-Rite, Staunton, VA from November 2013

Some of these shots, like the one above, capture a lot of the image, but what sets this one apart is the eyes, nose and arms of the chef holding the sign up. Some, like the one below from Won-Lee in Deland, Florida, distort the image completely, turning it into something completely different:

Won Lee Restaurant, Deland, FL, from November 2013Won Lee Restaurant, Deland, FL, from November 2013

In this, the bulbs of the cockeyed arrow are in reality one of the only straight lines.

Community Restaurant, Cortland, NY from October 2013Community Restaurant, Cortland, NY from October 2013

Sometimes I go far enough in to focus one thing that you never see what the full sign looks like, but again, it’s something new all in itself. In the case of this shot from the Community Restaurant in Cortland, the shadows of the bare branches from the trees that shade the sign are prominent and fascinating. These were by far my favorite shots of the day, shooting at 300mm from about twenty yards.

Sea Mist Apartments, Wildwood, NJ from October 2014Sea Mist Apartments, Wildwood, NJ from October 2014

If I have a Resolution this year, it’s to take more shots during the winter, when I’m usually hibernating, and to blog more (check). On top of that, I can’t forget to get more of these close-ups, because they have a wonderful transcendent quality to them. This year promises to have a few more road trips, including one to my old homestead of Chattanooga. Here’s to 2015 and the little things!

Wildwood, Part 2

Sand Dune Motel

The more you go through Wildwood, the greater the embarrassment of riches. Just going down a side road can lead you to a sign you didn’t know existed, one that no one seems to have posted on Flickr or Instagram. The Sand Dune, for instance, which seems lost during the day, caught between a few other motel signs that catch the eye. I got out to get a picture of the Jolly Roger (below), in its Pirate-topped 50’s glory, and on the way along the sidewalk nabbed the Sand Dune!

Jolly Roger sign, Wildwood, NJ

Jolly Roger Statue

The Sea Shell is one of the more well-known, perhaps for its odd shape, the highly-stylized “M” in “Motel”, and its visibility on the main drag into Wildwood proper.

Sea Shell Motel, Wildwood, NJ

Right down the street from the Sea Shell is the equally-impressive Pink Champagne sign. The hotel is pure 50’s, with pink accents!

Pink Champagne Motel, Wildwood, NJ

Another back-to-back grouping was in toward the center of town, with the Skylark, which was a paint-peeling nod to the old days, and the Quebec Motel, with its rooftop sign. At first, I thought I could sneak a shot which got both signs in it, but this turned out to be trickier than I thought. At any rate, the Skylark shot is among my favorites.

Skylark Motel, Wildwood, NJ

Quebec Motel, Wildwood, NJ

And we’re not even remotely done. My word, no. Literally you can’t go to Wildwood for one day and expect to get all the shots you could get. I haven’t even gotten to my favorite story of the trip yet!

Wildwood

Swan

So where was I? Oh, right.

We were in Philadelphia, having visited the Reading Terminal and Termini Brothers, when we realized that we still had more than half a day. So I said, why not go to Wildwood? It’s not tremendously far away, and I had been looking forward to going. The neon had been drawing me like a moth to a flame. So off we went.

About halfway there, we stopped at the Starbucks on the Atlantic City Expressway and ate the chocolate-banana-raspberry-loveliness we purchased from Termini Brothers. We looked at each other as we ate, confused by its perfection. There had to be a flaw. A sour portion, air bubbles, bones, something to reveal that such transcendence does not exist in this world. Nothing was forthcoming.

The one thing we hadn’t counted on with Wildwood at this time of year was how few people were there. True, it was Columbus Day weekend and well past the end of their season, but it was still a surprise, considering what a nice day it was. We pulled in and some off-season road construction was going on, which deterred us from going to the first sign on my list. However, the detour lead us down another road where we caught sight of a couple that weren’t even on my list: the Fairview (which looked closed) and the Harbor Inn.

Fairview, Wildwood, NJ

Harbor Inn, Wildwood, NJ

If this was any indication of how the afternoon was going to go, it was going to be more than worth the trip.

We pushed on toward the northern end, where the Lollipop Motel was. The Lollipop sign has captured the imagination of many, including me, most likely because of its supreme oddness. Alternately delightful and terrifying, this sign is the most marvelous paradox. Why choose lollipops as a theme for your motel? Why the children’s faces impaled on spikes, their knowing gazes at each other seeming to stem from a secret only they know? Why should I care? It’s big, it’s weird, and it’s wonderful.

Lollipop Motel, Wildwood, NJ

We passed back into town, unimpeded by the usual summer traffic. While the sun was shining, we felt it best to get a glimpse of the ocean. Parking is still at a premium in Wildwood, even at this time of year. We decided to kill two birds with one stone and paid to park at Laura’s Fudge, just up from the boardwalk and Morey’s Piers. Laura’s Fudge has a dazzling array of signs, and even in the day they were all lit up.

Laura's Fudge, Wildwood, NJ

Water Park

Which way to the water park? Hmmm…

Wildwood Lifeguard Station

No one for miles on the beach. Granted, the ocean temperature was low enough to ward off all intruders, but how could you resist a scene like this? We walked for a bit, and quickly ran across one of the most unforgettable scenes of recent times.

Roller Coaster, Wildwood, NJ

Following the destruction left by Superstorm Sandy a few years ago, pictures of this roller coaster half-submerged and falling down became a symbol of the natural disaster. It’s still closed, and the yellow signs around it warn you to stay as far away as possible, but remarkably it still stands. Whether it will ever be resurrected is a greater mystery.

But this was just the start. Much more Wildwood awaited!

 

 

The Philadelphia Food and Sign Festival

Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, PA

First off, in answer to someone’s question when I had four posts entitled “The San Antonio Food and Sign Festival,” this is not actually a thing. But it should be. All I’m sayin’.

Second, there’s also no such thing as the Philadelphia Food and Sign Festival (but there should be), other than the one Laura and I created one morning last week when we had the idea to take full advantage of an extra day off during the Columbus Day weekend. There are two places that spring to mind where food and neon intermingle, the first being the Reading Terminal Market, a foodie paradise unparalleled. Truly, if you cannot find it in the Reading Terminal, it’s probably not worth eating.

Inside the Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, PA

It took us a few minutes of wandering before we felt like we could actually settle in anywhere, but eventually we found a place that stopped us dead in our tracks. Being an admitted cheese snob, I gravitated over to a stand in the back owned by the Valley Shepherd Creamery. They had several cheeses on display, but the one that took center stage drew us in like nothing else could:

Ten Eyck CheeseAs it so happens, Laura’s maiden name is Ten Eyck.

So, after the world’s easiest sale and we had procured the cheesy comestibles, we came to find out that this was not one of Valley Shepherd’s cheeses, but from one of their partners, Meadowood Farms in Cazenovia, New York. Unfortunately, they couldn’t tell us why the cheese bears the name Ten Eyck. Nor is the internet a wealth of information on the subject. Needless to say, we’re very curious why they named a sheep’s milk cheese in the family of manchego with a somewhat obscure Dutch name. If anyone knows, please let us know!

Tommy DiNic's, Philadelphia, PA

It was ten in the morning, we already had breakfast, and yet we still found ourselves in front of Tommy DiNic’s. There was a cloud of people already there for lunch. Cheesesteaks, you say? Well, even though that is the most famous export of Philadelphia, the Roast Pork sandwich is gaining steam as the sandwich of choice, and DiNic’s is one the best. Roast pork, provolone and broccoli rabe. We had to indulge, even though we weren’t terrifically hungry.

Roast Pork Sandwich at DiNic'sI regret nothing.

Termini Brothers has a location in the Reading Terminal, and if you remember this previous post, I had a debt to settle with my lovely wife. I went to the main location on 8th Street a few months ago, had a tea biscuit and got an unexpected tour, but unfortunately I was by myself. For that reason, I had held off on the specialty of the house, the cannoli. I wasn’t about to leave Philadelphia without going by the main location for a pair of his-and-hers cannoli.

Now I Know Why He Left the Gun

Termini Brothers, Philadelphia, PA

First off, the sign was lit this time around, God bless them, so I went to town with a whole series of new shots. Then we went inside, and quite possibly the most delicious smell that exists returned to my life with a vengeance. Now unconcerned with leaving anyone behind, I could graze with confidence. A cannoli each, certainly. Then a container of pizzelles which looked impossibly good.

And then the girl who was serving us said “While you’re waiting for your cannoli,” she said, “would you like a tour?” Well, I had already had a tour previously, but Laura hadn’t, so we went through and looked in on where the magic happens.

Cannoli, cannoli, cannoli

Laura is smarter than me. When she is new to a place, she does what I never think to do, which is ask the person serving you what their favorite thing is. So she directed us to her favorite: a biscotti topped by a banana and raspberry, then the whole darn shootin’ match covered in chocolate. You’ll see that off to the right.

termini-tray

In order of deliciousness, and there aren’t any losers on this list, mind you:

  1. The chocolate-banana-raspberry thing, which I’m convinced is used as currency in certain developing countries.
  2. The cannoli, which would win most normal contests. Had I not had the chocolate-banana loveliness, I may have considered this the most delicious thing I had ever thought to eat.
  3. The pizzelles, which are outrageously wonderful in their own right.

We ate these later, of course, because there was plenty more to do and plenty more day ahead.

A pity we were full, because it was time to cross another place off my to-do list. I had missed out on the Melrose Diner on Snyder in my previous trip, but I couldn’t pass up

  1. A neon diner sign
  2. with a clock in it
  3. and the clock is shaped like a coffee cup

So off we went.

Melrose Diner, Philadelphia, PABy the way, in case you’re wondering, it was about 11:30. I think the Melrose has been stuck at 8:14 for a while…

Melrose Diner, Philadelphia, PA

But this was not all for this day. My word, no. For that, there will come another day and another post. Or two.

The New Jersey Expeditions, Part 2

Autumn arrived, and at the start of it, death visited us on both ends of the spectrum. First it was our 77-year old next-door neighbor, who died suddenly of a heart attack. At the end of the week, my cousin’s son, who was just five years old, succumbed to the ravages of Neuroblastoma after a three-year battle. Under the circumstances, it’s been very hard to write about my adventures in sign-hunting, because in the grand scheme of things, it is so small in the face of life and death.

It disturbed me to discover that I had no pictures of either my neighbor or my cousin’s boy. The latter was more understandable because my cousin lives far away, so I never actually met him, but I saw my neighbor all the time, sitting on the front porch, most often reading the Bible with his gun sitting either on the table next to him or in his shoulder holster. He was built along the lines of a greyhound, and he walked up the street with his long, slender legs. He had a small head and a pointy noise, to boot. He would talk to you in a slow, nasal Philadelphia drawl about pretty much anything and everything, and he was constantly aware of almost all neighborhood activities and passers-by. And I have no pictures of him.

The day after he passed, a neighbor left this on the porch, right in front of his favorite chair.

Flower for Fred

I’ve spent a lot of times taking pictures of places that one day will be gone, but the past few weeks have reminded me that much more, there are people that will one day be gone.


But places are still important to people, and when I was going through New Jersey a few weeks ago I realized that I was in the land where my father-in-law grew up. He has great nostalgia for Watchung, Dunellen, the Plainfields, and he can recall all sorts of stories about old friends and places he’s been, so I felt like I needed to stop by.

First, I caught a glimpse of the Western Termite sign of one of those poor businesses you see only in the northeastern United States that are somehow positioned IN BETWEEN the eastbound and westbound lanes of a major thoroughfare. Despite this odd disadvantage, Western Termite continues to thrive.

Western Termite Control

There were a couple of places I’ve heard my father-in-law mention in stories that I knew were still around. Texas Weiner in Plainfield was the first one to come to mind, and after that, I can’t help but think of the Wienie King in The Palm Beach Story, but that’s my own problem, I suppose. There are a ton of copycats, and nearly every other place in that particular area boasted some form of Texas Weiner, but as far as anyone knows, this was the first.

Texas Weiner I, Plainfield, NJ

The second one is the Dunellen Theater. One night we were talking about old movie houses and he talked about this one in particular, how he had gone to see double features with his cousin Joan there in the 40s, and after he was done talking about it I looked it up on my iPhone and voila! The theater was still there and in operation.

Dunellen Theater, Dunellen, NJ

Dunellen Ninja Turtles?Teenage Dunellen Ninja Turtles?

The Dunellen is one of the oldest in the country, having started showing movies in 1922. Now known as the Dunellen Theater and Cinema Cafe, it was originally Hosford’s Theater when it opened, and later the Dunellen Cameo, having already changed to the name “Dunellen Theater” by the time my father-in-law was watching movies there.

It was good that I got a chance to go by, and I hope this will be a nice trip down memory lane for him. I wish I had had the time to stop in for a Texas Weiner (is it different from a regular one? I guess it must be…) or to watch a movie in this hallowed old place, but at the very least I can spark some memories in those that have.

In the meantime, here’s a portrait I DO have, of my father-in-law with my sister-in-law Rachel:

rachel-and-dad

Binghamton by Night

Red Oak Diner Sign, Binghamton, NY

This last Labor Day weekend, after all manner of family visits, we headed back from Binghamton. It wasn’t intentional, but we had left right at neon magic hour (the hour, or minutes, following sundown). Immediately I cast my mind back to earlier this year, when I noticed the Red Oak Diner sign on Front Street, the one pointed directly at NY 17, had suddenly sprung to life with new, red neon. It was too late to catch it then, but it wasn’t now, so I high-tailed it up US 11.

Previous visits had yielded the picture above, but since then I had figured out the way to sneak back into the adjoining park and get the front side of the sign. The “R” was out, but I think it adds to it…

Red Oak Diner, Binghamton, NY

While I was at it, I decided to hit up some other signs I had never gotten at night. The Greyhound Bus station was my next target, but I had a surprise in store. When I went to park along Chenango Street I noticed glowing neon that I had never seen before, or at least, for a very long time. It seems that the good folks at Little Venice Restaurant restored their neon sign recently (near as I can tell, in April of this year). My jaw fell open. There are modern touches to it, of course, but it’s very true to what the original sign looked like.

Little Venice Restaurant, Binghamton, NY

The Greyhound Bus Station is just down the street, and it was built in 1938, with all the art deco trimmings the law would allow. In 2006, the sign and the building were restored to its former glory, and it was a pleasure to see it lit up.

Greyhound BUs Station, Binghamton, NY

At this moment, the car at the below right photobombed me. I was not particularly happy, especially because I knew that by the time this guy left, the darkness would take over. Plus, the restaurant’s lights at the lower left were snuffed not ten seconds after I got this picture. Oh, well. I like this one well enough. Besides, it always gives me an excuse to go back!

My day shot of the bus station is in this article.

The New Jersey Expeditions

HY, Hy-Way Bowl, Union, NJ

There are plenty of things I forget on a constant basis. Among them:

  1. The Cubs are not going to win the division.
  2. Lid down.
  3. Just because a burger is flame-broiled doesn’t necessarily make it a good burger.
  4. Although that Toyota ad with “Jan” started out with a promising concept, it’s not going to be in the least bit funny.
  5. New Jersey is within easy driving distance.

This last one, of course, is the one I forget the most often, and it’s only when I go to Easton and see a sign that says “New York City, 68 miles” that I realize just how close a lot of the places on my to-do list for New Jersey truly are. On Tuesday of this week, I found myself in Easton with some extra time and I realized I was within striking distance of a couple great signs. Considering the recent lessons of the Port Motel and how there’s no time like the present to get these shots, I had no doubt what my course of action should be.

My main target was Hy-Way Bowl in Union, New Jersey. Bowling signs are some of the best, but unfortunately, most of the best ones are somewhere other than eastern Pennsylvania, and as a result, I have precisely zero classic bowling signs in my collection. Secondarily, I wasn’t sure if the Hy-Way was still in operation (They have a Facebook page, but the last post on it is from some time last year), so rather than wait to see it disappear to some scrap heap, I was going to go after it. From there, I was just going to drive back on US 22 to see what I could see. The old US routes, as I’ve often said, are the best, and US 22 is one of the oldest.

I made it to the Hy-Way in under an hour. The parking lot was a disaster and the building looked dilapidated, and a check-cashing place had moved into one part of it. It didn’t look like much bowling was going on. But the sign was intact, and just as I had seen it in posts by others:

Hy-Way Bowl, Union, NJ

A couple things. Number one, what’s with the cactus on the bowling ball? I’ve seen dozens of pictures of this sign, and yet no one asks this question, so dadgummit I’m asking. Second, that’s a whole heaping helping of neon bullet holes in the bowling ball; was there something written on it? What must this have looked like in its day? The internet is frankly stumped, and shows me the pictures I’ve already seen, from Tony Zarak and others.

Hy Way Bowl detail, Union, NJ

Where do I start with this one? I just love the detail above, with these customized letters that spell out “bowl.” They’re uneven, the “O” is smaller than the others, but it fits the space so well and it’s own type of art. When they say “they don’t make ’em like they used to,” this is where it begins and ends for me. It’s like the uneven shapes of the Wrigley Field or Fenway Park outfield. It’s not perfect and gorgeous in its imperfection.

I must have stayed here for a half an hour, watching people struggle in and out of the check cashing place and the traffic roaring down US 22. But I knew I had to move on.

From Debra Jane Seltzer’s website I knew about another one in Union, but I wasn’t sure if it was still there. It was for the Union Shade & Awning Company, and from all reports it was the original sign from 1940:

union-shade

This one was just off US 22, and although I had a good idea where it was, I was surprised to see that it was right there ahead of me once I got off the highway. There was no place to park, so I ended up idling with my four-ways on as I jumped out and took about seven rapid-fire shots. I liked the one above the best.

So I should say another thing I’ve forgotten:

  • 6. Driving in New Jersey is always a challenge.

In order to get back on US 22, I had to drive back all the way to the Hy-Way Bowl. I’m sure there was an easier way to do so, but being a stranger there myself, and since New Jersey sees fit to hide their directional signs from the eyes of tourists, I ended up about a mile in the opposite direction. Once I was back on US 22 west, life continued as normal.

There was a Jimmy John’s on the left side. I couldn’t get in that lane because of traffic, so I thought if I turned right and went around the block, I’d end up in the right spot.

  • 7. Never ever under any circumstances get off of US 22 if you don’t have to. Ever.

Fifteen minutes later and the allure of Jimmy John’s seemed not entirely worth it. I struggled back to US 22 with my tail between my legs, having seen the inside and out of an industrial park and 415 dead-end side roads. The sun, which had been burning bright during my first two shots, went away, so when I reached the next port of call, The World of Tile in Springfield, conditions were not at their best. But I can’t complain much:

World of Tile, Springfield, NJ
World of Tile opened in 1957 and it is every inch 1957 from its globe to the TILE individual blocks to its space-age building, preserved for all these years.

World of Tile Building, Springfield, NJ

More to come later. New Jersey is a wild, wonderful place with much to explore!

Farewell to the Port Motel

Port Motel, Port Trevorton, PA

The news hit me last week that the Port Motel sign has officially disappeared. Built in 1952, the Port was part of a bygone era, before interstate highways, when US routes were the main mode of transportation. This motel was along US 11 and 15 along the Susquehanna in the town of Port Trevorton, PA, and its original design contained an Esso station and the Port Diner. The motel closed a number of years ago and it had been turned into storage units, all the while the motel sign remaining.

From old post cards of the motel, I discovered that the star was added later, perhaps as late as the seventies. If you’ll notice on the wireframe below the sign and to the left, that once housed a bit of neon as well, proudly announcing that they had “TV.”

Port Motel, Port Trevorton, PA

This sign was the subject of at least three photo shoots of mine. This last grouping was from August of last year, and as far as anyone can tell, the sign disappeared over the winter. I had previously shot the sign in the morning, and these were from magic hour, as you can tell from the shadows of me and my Elantra above.

Port Motel sign, Port Trevorton, PA

If anyone has any news about the whereabouts of this sign, it would be greatly appreciated. I would hate to think it’s lying about in a junkyard somewhere.

Farewell, old friend. Visit this and many other lost treasures in my Vanishing America section.